What will happen to your established wealth in generations to come? By working together with family and trusted financial advisors, you can boil the future of your wealth down to a single page.
By Phil Tobin
This article is the first in a series taken from The One Page Legacy Plan by Phil Tobin, a free downloadable eBook from iGiftFund. First, we explain how families can create a successful strategy for wealth transfer while encapsulating their family’s values—all in a simple, one- page document.
Individuals and families who have been fortunate, who have enjoyed a share of success and have prudently managed their assets throughout their lifetimes, face a natural question at some point: What happens next?
If you’re one of those individuals or families, you probably feel strongly about your own wealth. You’ve built it carefully over a lifetime, and you believe that your resources should be used for some worthy purpose after the needs of your family are met.
Maybe you give annually to support those organizations and causes you believe in. But now you are in a financial position that enables you to do something more. You would like the satisfaction of making a lasting impact on your world with the knowledge that what you are now able to do with a portion of your accumulated wealth is clear recognition of your own achievements.
Another question arises: Where to begin?
A simplified strategy. A new idea came to me while my wife Joan and I were reviewing and updating our estate plan documents and financial plans with our trusted professional advisors—our attorney, financial advisor, and CPA.
In meeting individually with these trusted advisors, each one drew from their own experience and professional perspective. They probed, looked into, questioned, and summarized the tangible—and sometimes intangible—components of the overall plan that addressed the What, When, Where, and Who. They skillfully focused on the three traditional estate planning areas: wealth preservation, control over assets, and tax efficiency.
We came up with a good plan, but we still had two questions that remained unanswered:
- What is the Why—the long-term goal—of our family wealth?
- How best can the Why of our family wealth be explored, developed, and integrated into a comprehensive and enduring Legacy Plan that prepares the next generation for the successful transfer of family wealth?
I concluded that we needed a way to communicate and display the plan in a simple and meaningful way. I also wanted to ensure that all family members could participate, in such a way that prepared them to take ownership of the overall plan and ensure that our family’s intent was carried out.
The result was the One Page Legacy Plan, a simplified strategy that anyone can use to identify the purpose of their charitable giving for generations to come.
What is the One Page Legacy Plan? This plan does not replace the financial, accounting, and legal components. Instead, it empowers and enables the family to communicate the family’s story and how the two components of family wealth—financial and philanthropic—are distributed to accomplish the family’s noble mission.
The One Page Legacy Plan captures and displays on a single page the essence of a successful family-wealth transfer story. It encapsulates the following:
- The family mission, the Why or purpose of the family
- The sources of family wealth, both financial and philanthropic
- The goals and objectives the family wants to accomplish in carrying out the family mission
- The strategies the family will use to accomplish its goals and objectives
- How family wealth, both financial and philanthropic, will be distributed to accomplish the family’s noble mission.
The single page format works because:
- It is easy to document and easy for all family members to understand
- It becomes dynamic—easy to update as situations in the family change
- It is simple, but covers all essential elements of a highly effective legacy plan
- It is an effective tool to communicate consistently with and among family members
Finally, it makes these critical components of your legacy planning easily accessible and understandable for all family members:
- Family Mission: intended to be idealistic
- Sources of Family Wealth: traditionally measured
- Objectives and Goals: realistic and measurable
- Strategies: action-oriented
- Wealth Distribution: the all-important roadmap for the successful transition of family legacy wealth
The future of your family depends on the successful transition of your legacy—and the enduring mark you leave on the world. Establishing a One Page Legacy Plan is one tool that anyone can use to help guide that transition, and to ensure your family’s values are upheld for years. Your life’s efforts have made a difference, and with some effective strategizing, your descendants will remember your hard work for generations to come.
Phil Tobin is Chairman and President of iGiftFund.
Next in this series: Getting started on your One Page Legacy Plan by establishing the “why” of your
family wealth, and the important role that family philanthropy plays in responsible stewardship of your wealth for generations to come.